The United States said Thursday it had summoned Turkey's ambassador to the State Department, where the No. 2-ranked US diplomat raised concerns about the security detail for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington, after the guards were recorded on video violently breaking up a protest.
President Donald Trump, accompanied byTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
"Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the USA and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the ambassador's residence", the Turkish embassy said in a statement late Wednesday.
According to police, 11 people were injured Tuesday, including a police officer. A video showed two men bleeding from the head, and men in dark suits punching and kicking protesters, some lying on the ground. The State Department issued a relatively strong statement Wednesday saying that it was "concerned by the violent incidents" involving Turkish security personnel and that the United States is "communicating our concern with the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms".
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"He sent his goons to DC to rough up Americans and suppress the free speech rights of U.S. citizens, and all the State Department can muster is a generic expression of opposition to violence".
"This kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically", said McCain, suggesting that the U.S. sue the Turkish government if the bodyguards responsible for the violence can't be identified.
Violence erupted when Turkish security officials and counter-protesters clashed with demonstrators near the ambassador's residence, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stayed after meetings with President Trump at the White House.
"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense", the statement read.
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Video appears to show Erdogan's bodyguards violently breaking up a protest this week while Erdogan was visiting Washington.
Turkish supporters, however, claimed they were provoked by members of the Turkish Kurdish party YPG, which Erdogan's government considers a terrorist group for its links to the PKK.
Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham called the attacks "brutal" and vowed to "pursue everything that's within our legal power to hold the folks that were responsible for their actions". "I'm scared now too because I don't know how it will affect my life here in the United States", said Tankan, who lives in Arlington, Virginia.
VOA's Turkish service says the protesters at the scene were Kurdish supporters calling for pro-Kurdish lawmaker Selahattin Demirtas' release from prison. They will not speculate about the current investigation.
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Ceres Borazan, a Kurd from Turkey, traveled from New Jersey to protest the president's trip.